Cal Lale: Industrial Lace

“I like to work as a visual devil’s advocate, using contradiction as a vehicle for finding my way to an empathetic image, an image of opposition that creates a balance – as well as a clash,” explains Canadian sculpture artist Cal Lane.

Lane transforms industrial steel products, such as Dumpsters, oil drums, and I-beams, into lacey, delicate works of sculpture. Lane cuts ornate patterns into the steel, creating space for light to shine through, and turning the metal into what she describes as ‘Industrial Doilies’. This process weaves the femininity of lace with the masculinity of steel.

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Lane was trained as a welder before studying art majoring in painting and sculpture, and has been exhibiting her work internationally since 2001. She has been recognized as one of the most active female sculptors in the world, and has been credited with making profound feminist and political statements through her work, the method of her sculpture, and also through her artist statements.

“My lace work, especially in the beginning was pulling together industrial and domestic life as well as relationships of strong and delicate, masculine and feminine, practical and frivolity, ornament and function,” says Lane. “It also introduces a kind of humour through the form of unexpected relationships. Like a Wrestler in a tutu, the absurdity of having opposing extremist stances is there for reaction and not rational understanding; the rational discussion arises in the search for how one thing defines the other by its proximity.”

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Cal’s latest work has become increasingly more political, taking topics of war, religion, and oil. Her latest exhibition, entitled “Crude”, uses oil drums, with religious and symbolic tapestry carved into their surfaces. While the work never comes out with an explicit or specific statement or stance, it does force different elements to co-exist in the same space.

“The direction of my recent work came as a result of living in a time of w ar and feeling the guilt of a bystander,” adds Lane. “The first political piece I created was called “Filigree Car Bombing”. I focused on creating a tasteless relationship of images. Images of flowers and “prettiness” in the form of a violent and sensitive situation. With Crude, I didn’t want to point to anything specific, I just wanted to put these images out there on oil drums and leave its meaning up to what the viewer brings to it.”

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Filigree Car Bombing, Cal Lane, 2007.

More of Cal Lane’s recent work can be found in Monreal’s Art Mur gallery, in the exhibition Veiled Hoods and Stains. In this display, Lane has transferred the patterns of her work onto canvas using rust and acrylic.

To learn more about Cal and her work, please visit her website.

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